SHOULD THOSE WHO SUPPORTED LOCKDOWNS, MASKS AND VAXXES RECEIVE "AMNESTY?"
Belatedly acknowledging that many Americans are angry about having been subjected to 32 months of destructive lockdowns/school closures, mask mandates, testing and injections (“LSMTVs”), The Atlantic recently published a short essay by Emily Oster, a college professor who urges that “we forgive one another for mistakes made during the past 32 months.”
As it’s based on at least six false premises, this request for “amnesty” falls flat.
To begin with, Oster slyly proposes a reciprocal exchange of mercy among people on both sides of the Covid “mitigation” debate whom, in her view, all made mistakes. But those who opposed the Covid interventions didn’t make mistakes. Coronamania opponents knew that all of these measures would fail and would cause vast, deep harm. We said so repeatedly and at the outset. We dissidents don’t need, or seek, forgiveness. Thus, despite Oster’s proposal, no equitable exchange of blame is possible here. There’s no justice in, or logic to, mutual forgiveness.
Secondly, Oster asserts that LSMTV supporters deserve pardons because Americans were “in the dark” regarding the Coronavirus risks.
This premise is 180 degrees from the truth. From Corona’s official American debut, in mid-March, 2020, it was clear to anyone with a trace of discernment that none of the unprecedented interventions made any sense.
Early March, 2020 news reports that some Italians and Spaniards had reportedly died with this respiratory virus showed that there was little basis for alarm. People should have known that these countries had aging populations and over 100 million people and that those who typically died with respiratory viruses were already old and sick. The Italy/Spain data didn’t indicate that everyone was at risk. To the contrary, these European trends were clear, unsurprising and reassuring: as usual, this latest respiratory virus, like countless viruses that preceded it, threatened only unhealthy old people, and only a tiny fraction of that cohort.
In countless situations, a small sample is revealing and reliable. When you meet someone new, you typically know in the first five minutes whether you’d like to spend more time with that person. Or not.
You know after the first five minutes if a given movie will hold your interest or, if a comedy, will make you laugh.
People don’t take a bite of some unfamiliar food, hate it, and expect the second bite to be delicious.
Pollsters and market researchers gauge wider public sentiment by sampling very small groups.
And so on. Pattern recognition is an essential life skill. If you can’t quickly recognize patterns, life will pass you by and kick you in the backside as it does. Everyone knows this and shows it by the way they lead their lives.
Given the Euro data, I, and many others, knew and said, since mid-March, 2020, that it was either irrational or disingenuous to disregard SARS-Cov2’s demographically clear risk profile and to treat everyone the same by locking down a society, including the healthy and non-old. In a 32-month cavalcade of lies, the notion that all were at risk has been the most fundamental and consequential untruth. This Big Lie has pervaded every aspect of Covid policy. “Educators” kept those under 25—who were at functionally zero risk—out of colleges and schools. They, and other officials, tried to force even young people to “vaxx,” mask and test, even though they knew those healthy and under 70 were at microscopic risk.
Analyzing whether society should lock down, close schools and vaxx was a very easy call. Anyone who suggests that it wasn’t easy doesn’t know basic facts or is posturing.
Thirdly, Oster falsely implies that the implementation of the unprecedented Covid measures was dispassionate and scientific, and uninfluenced by politics. But the interventions were clearly pseudo-scientific and designed to oust Trump and further skew the economy toward the already rich, especially Net retailers and Pharma. During 2020, Covid bureaucrats like Fauci, Birx and Collins, political candidates and many Democrat governors and mayors pretended that they didn’t know that the virus simply didn’t threaten most people.
Fourthly, Oster incorrectly asserts that anger does no good and that we need, above all, to move forward without recrimination.
But anger is functional. The expression of disagreement is an intrinsically important form of human communication. To be emotionally well, people need to say what they believe, even if it bothers other people.
Speech is a Constitutionally-protected element of American sociopolitical culture. It’s expected that some important speech will contain criticism and anger. Yet, for 32 months, the news media has grossly underreported criticisms of Covid policy. Worse, Big Tech and our federal and state governments actively censored those who observed the lockdowns’ and vaxxes’ flaws. Suppressing such critiques and glossing over anger has damaged Democracy far more than anything that January 6, 2021 protesters did. The human toll of censorship during Corona lockdowns, school closures, mask, test and injection mandates has been infinitely worse.
BTW, it’s funny how during this week’s “political violence” speech, Biden didn’t mention the Democrats who shot up the Republican Senate baseball practice or stalked Kavanaugh while packing heat, nor the mobs that burned multiple cities in the summer of 2020, nor the multi-year imprisonments of trespassers/political prisoners.
Criticizing others can be constructive. Societies can learn from negative public evaluations of the conduct of governments and those who claim to be experts. Dialogue is a two-way street; it can, and often does, entail conflict. Oster feels entitled to express opinions regarding Covid mitigation. But she can’t tolerate others’ continuing observations that these measures were oppressive and ineffective.
Those who supported LSMTVs have caused lasting harm to peoples’ physical and mental health and caused unemployment and inflation that has permanently impoverished many Americans. In order to understand how these problems arose, government mismanagement must be long-remembered and the architects of these policies should be publicly identified. Child psychologists talk about exposing children to the consequences of their behavior. Those who supported the Covid interventions should have to confront—both now and in the future—the consequences of their actions, including but not limited to, damage to their intellectual reputations. As Coronamania has gone on for 32 months and as public dialogue about Covid policy has been discouraged and thus, strictly unofficial and informal, it’s unreasonable to limit the duration of any public comment period regarding all of the harm caused. The river of public criticism should be allowed to flow indefinitely.
Moreover, various forms of accountability have more public value than does amnesty. Retribution has intrinsic worth; it’s an essential element of criminal law. We confine criminals not only to isolate them from potential additional victims and deter crime; we also lock people up and allow victims’ families to excoriate criminals during sentencings in order to express collective wrath at what perpetrators have done. Given this, and the grand scale of the harm done over the past 32 months, why should the perpetrators of the Covid overreaction be exempt from various, lasting forms of accountability?
Fifthly, Oster maintains that we should let bygones be bygones so that we can work with each other. But with so much irretrievable damage done, what sense of common cause or affinity might compel those who disagree about Covid policies to join forces? Why should we now trust the judgment of, or deem “experts,” those who have gotten so much wrong for so long? Not all relationships are worth saving. To the contrary, some are better ended.
I bring up the failures of the Covid interventions with everyone I meet. They hate to hear it. Thus, even though they used to enjoy spending time with me, many now avoid me. Most of those with whom I formerly communicated only via e-mail seem to have blocked my messages; they’re unwilling to engage in dialogue. Now that they see that all of the Covid interventions they supported have failed, they want to slink away and pretend that the pain and loss they caused over the past 32 months hasn’t happened. This is unacceptably asymmetrical and shows a lack of integrity. This profound, opportunistically-caused harm can’t simply be memory-holed without a reckoning.
Asking someone to forgive and forget after Coronamania would be like someone burning down your house one night and greeting you the next morning by saying, “Hey, let’s forget the whole thing happened. We had a difference of opinion.” It’s like an abusive boyfriend sending candy and flowers. Under some circumstances, it can be charitable to forgive. But as here, it can also be dysfunctional.
Sixthly, forgiveness is not possible without contrition. Neither Oster, nor the government, nor the other Covid intervention backers, will admit that not only were they wrong but that they demanded that everyone obey their destructive behavioral directives to stay at home, mask up, test and inject. The past 32 months did not merely entail differences of opinion. Many supported various mandates. Resisters were vilified and punished. As Eddie Vedder sang, “Some words, once spoken, can’t be taken back.”
I have—and I know you have—seen, up close, and heard many other accounts of, people whose lives have been turned upside down and permanently harmed by the lockdowns and school closures I’ve seen on-line graduation ceremonies and gowns mailed to students so they could take photos in their backyards, and prom dresses and sports uniforms that were never worn. I’ve heard stories of teens breaking down and crying in their rooms because their youth was being stolen. I’ve seen people unnecessarily unemployed for eight months, desperately seeking work, via computer, ten hours a day, seven days a week. Tens of thousands more people fatally overdosed than in an average year. I was barred from visiting my critically ill mother in the hospital. How many families couldn’t gather, either to break bread or to mourn the death of a close relative? Marriages have been postponed; how many children will not have been born because of Corona theater, or the vaxxes? Overall, how many billions of memories that could have been made, weren’t? Stolen time is irreplaceable.
I’ve also seen families divided by mandates for a shot that no reasonably healthy person under 70 should have even considered, much less been required to take under a Sword of Damocles/ultimatum regarding one’s livelihood?
The costs of Corona theater have been immeasurably high. None of it helped. I’ll never forget all of the harm strategically caused, and how many—and which—people gullibly and aggressively staked out hostile positions during Coronamania. In this test of character, people revealed themselves. I now see many people in a negative light.
Assuming she’s not just trolling and pursuing clicks, why did Oster write this essay? She doesn’t seek a formal pardon, such as a legislature or a court might provide. Rather, her piece feels like a trial balloon wishfully floating the notion that any Covid intervention damage was just misapplied earnestness. It’s an effort to convince herself that she, and the others who imperiously wrecked so many lives, are good, smart people.
But after all that she and her counterparts have said and done, I think Oster and her ilk lack self-awareness and that her balloon deserves to fall from the sky.
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